Thursday, December 28, 2006

It's all over, there isn't any more.
It's all over, but what's it over for?
Just when you think the party's started...
It's over, it's over, it's over.
--Squirrel Nut Zip
pers "It's Over"

What a whirlwind! The holidays were full of sugarplums and cookies, decorating and wrapping, shopping and parades, and Nutcracker, Nutcracker, Nutcracker. The Turmanators were incredibly busy, as you may have noticed by the dearth of blogging during December. Today's photos include the girls decorating cookies, posing for our Christmas card, playing with presents, India backstage at the Nutcracker with her friends, and Kate posing with a sooty kiss from Santa on her cheek.

This was the first year that both of the Short People really understood the magic of Christmas. There was much anticipation, first for our visit from Pops and Gigi (Tracy's parents) the
weekend before Christmas, and then for traveling to Richmond to have Christmas with my family. The girls were thrilled to stay at Daden and Yoyo's house...once they were assured that they do have a fireplace and Santa will know how to find them. It was wonderful to have Clare and Derek there; they alternate between families and this year was ours.

As with most children, the excitement of Christmas was often accompanied by unadulterated mania. We found ourselves resorting to humming the refrain of "you better watch out, you better not cry..." more than once, ashamed to admit.
I also must admit that my recent lapse in blogging is also the reason for our trip to Richmond for the Holidays. My father has been diagnosed with both an ulcer and, much more seriously, an aortic aneurysm. Riding in the car for long periods is too painful so we decided to travel to him instead. He was scheduled to have surgery this week but it has been postponed for a month or two. I suppose I just didn't feel like writing about all holiday activities without mentioning what was on my mind the most. A recent follow-up has shown no growth in the aneurysm so I am feeling better about things. My father's health concerns have certainly been a reminder of how important it is to enjoy every minute of life and family. And isn't that also what the Holidays are all about?

Friday, December 01, 2006

25 days and Counting!

The snow is falling down
Up in some northern town

But a Carolina Christmas

Is still the best around

Wrap up your teddy bear

Hang your stockings up with care
It's a Carolina Christmas

Were chillin in our underwear
--"Carolina Chri
stmas" the Squirrel Nut Zippers

Not quite in our underwear, really, just shorts, although I hear cooler temperatures are coming with some rain today. The 70+ degree weather is not dampering our holiday spirits, however. Decorations are out...not acutally UP, but out. Until our halls are decked the Short People are contenting themselves with CVS's singing and dancing santa with penguins. We've been so often that I'm concerned the employees may think I'm casing the store, but the girls dance right along and beg to hear them sing again and again. Thank god they don't know that monstrosity is for sale!We also kicked off the holiday season today by decorating a gingerbread house. I think this will be a new tradition for the Turmanators. This year I just used a kit since I barely have time to use the restroom and brush my teeth now, but maybe one year I will do the whole thing from scratch. The girls loved sampling the candies and helping set everything in place with glue made from SUGAR (they were truly amazed by this). Tonight we begin counting down the days 'til Christmas with our advent calendar. Also the ABC family network begins it's marathon of Christmas movies tonight, so those with children or who are young at heart...check it out.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

ha sido un invierno eterno
y loco me vuelve la nieve
primavera venga ya venga la
primavera venga ya
"Queremos Bailar" - Dan Zanes

Hola, mis amigos y amigas! Welcome to the Short People's "Mundo del Espanol". Like most preschoolers, India has always enjoyed dabbling in Spanish (the influence of "Dora" seems to know no bounds). But lately her interest is, shall we say, excesivo? Any counting to be done? Do it in Spanish. Want to say "hello", "goodbye", "thank you" or "your welcome"? All the Turmanators must answer with the appropriate Spanish phrase. Don't know how to say something in Spanish? No problem; India just makes it up! She's enjoying herself and we are having a great time trying not to let her catch us cracking up.

Recently she asked to eat at a Mexican restaurant despite the fact that she does not care for the food. When I questioned whether she really wanted to dine there she haughtily retorted "I ASSUME they will have little cheeseburgers".

But my favorite thus far: when India asked Tracy if she could watch a movie in the car and he responded "I doubt it", India questioned "Is 'I doubt it' Spanish for 'I don't think so'?

Today's photo is of our new patio and firepit (just for you, Brian, Janice and Clare). Tracy's birthday (his first 39th, he says) was this weekend. We did a lot of celebrating; his favorite homemade spareribs, dinner out with friends, etcetera, but our best celebrating was done right here. We spent much of the weekend roasting marshmallows, having a glass of wine and stargazing. Perfecto!

Friday, November 24, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving

You can get anything you want, at Alice's Restaurant
Excepting Alice
You can get anything you w
ant, at Alice's Restaurant
Walk right in it's around the back
Just a half a mile from the railroad track
You can get anything you want, at Alice's Restaurant
--Arlo Guthrie "Alice's Restaurant"

Very obscure song reference today, but it is a family tradition to listen to "Alice's Restaurant" every Thanksgiving. If you aren't familiar with the song, it has a vague (very vague) connection with Thanksgiving and some radio stations play it on the holiday. If you want to hear the song, you can check out this performance on YouTube:

We had a marvelous Thanksgiving. Here are a few things I'm grateful for:
* For such good friends and family
* For happy, healthy children
* That I didn't have to host Thanksgiving at my house this year
* That no one was upset that my "famous" gravy was a tad greasy
* That Susan sent us home with two pieces of her pecan pie
* That Tracy cleaned up the rest of the kitchen mess this morning before going to work
* That I'm not out Christmas shopping ow
n personal Hell.







Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Just a box of rain -
wind and water -
Believe it if you need it,
if you don't just pass it on
Sun and shower -
Wind and rain -
in and out the window
like a moth before a flame

--"Box Of Rain" The Grateful Dead

Today was to have been a day of freedom. A WHOLE DAY ALONE. Alone shopping, which is one of my least favorite things, yes, but still...I've found I like shopping a whole lot more than I used to if I have the opportunity to do so by myself. Anyway, I had a babysitter scheduled so I could travel to civilization and wipe out all of our Christmas shopping in one trip. Virginia Beach, Chesapeake, lunch at the Baker's Crust, a trip to Starbucks perhaps?

Evidently the weatherman had other ideas.

A nor-easter is slamming the coast today, resulting in high winds, torrential rain, wind restrictions/closures on the Bay Bridge Tunnel (couldn't go even if I wanted to), and leaking at our house. So I cancelled my trip, and have spent the ENTIRE day cooped up with the Short People and fervently looking for water drips in every room.

On a positive note, the Short People have behaved rather well considering they would rather eat spinach for breakfast than remain in the house all day. They spent a lot of time creating fabulous costumes (at one point India was wearing a velvet dress, Strawberry Shortcake bedroom slippers, a macaroni necklace and Indian headdress) and making appalling messes. Somehow the girls conned our dog Daisy into playing Polly Pockets in the above photo.

Another bright side to my imprisonment is that I was able to get a bit of Thanksgiving cooking done ahead of time. Tomorrow we are going to our friends John and Susan's, joined by Susan's parents and another set of friends and their children. I was assigned an appetizer, sweet potato casserole, asparagus casserole, and stuffing. Since Tracy will work a half day tomorrow it was helpful to have some things done ahead. We'll head over there after naps for our Thanksgiving feast. Hope everyone has a wonderful holiday!

Monday, November 20, 2006

Sometimes I feel so uninspired
Sometimes I feel like giving up

Sometimes I feel so very tired

Sometimes I feel like I've had enough

But don't let it get you down

There is no reason for not failing

You've got to smile and turn the other cheek

So today you might get up
But by tomorrow you'll be sailing
Traffic -- "(Sometimes I Feel So) Uninspired"

My friend Janice (this is gonna sound familiar, Jan) and I joke about the ebb and flow of the stay at home Mom. Some weeks you are a Goddess. The universe revolves around her and her masterful planning. The house is run with near military precision.The floors are clean. The children are clean. The library books are returned on time. The meals are healthy and organized. She is amazing.

Then the tide turns, and the Goddess is gone. I'm not sure where she goes, but the Interloper who replaces her is not very efficient. When the Interloper is here, cleaning, errands and household tasks are completed begrudgingly...if at all. She forgets to buy the chicken for dinner, misses her haircut appointment, doesn't feel like vacumming AGAIN and resents the fact that children must be fed three wholesome meals a day ("didn't I just feed you lunch?").

The Goddess took a road trip for a few weeks and the Turmanators have lived in squalor and chaos with the Interloper. But the Goddess is back! As a result, the sheets are changed, the floors are vacuumed, everyone has had flu shots and haircuts, meeting minutes have been typed, and Christmas shopping has begun. This also means, of course, that the Goddess will resume blogging. Sorry to those of you who have expressed some disgust with the Interloper in this regard.

Enjoy some photos of a recent playgroup and of our adults-only trip to the Hotel Hershey for some much-needed pampering, and know that the Goddess has it all under control. For now.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Halloween Was A Real Drag

Well I'm not the worlds most masculine man
But I know what I am and I'm glad Im a man
And so is Lola
Lo-lo-lo-lo Lola
Lola -- The Kinks
Cross-dressing was the unspoken theme for the men Saturday October 28th at our annual Halloween Party. We hosted the Indigo Girls, the Ugly Stepsisters, and my personal favorite, Tracy as Brittany Spears. I was a "hanging judge", complete with noose and rope marks on my neck. There were so many great costumes; it was difficult to get pictures of everyone and some of the photos we did take didn't come out (camera problems...think I need a new one for Christmas. Any recommendations?).

I love the photo of the
table with the (unententional) spooky effects.We had a fabulous time and I think the guests did, too; things didn't wind down until about 1:30am. Of course, the short people were up at 6:15 old time so we were a bit tired on Sunday!

On Sunday after a quick nap we took the girls to the Camp Silver Beach Halloween Party. It's a great event sponsored by the YMCA with games, hayrides, a hay maze and other activities. It was so windy they kept losing their clown hats, but we had a fabulous time.

Since the party weekend the Turmanators have been really busy deconstructing the decorations, going trick or treating, then high-tailing it out of town without the short people for a long, relaxing weekend. I'll be sure to post more pictures of the party, Halloween, and our trip to Hershey, PA soon.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

I see a red door and I want it painted black
No colors anymore I want them to turn black
-- Paint It Black, The Stones
No, I'm not depressed, I'm preparing for our annual Halloween party. Every spare minute is spend draping anything that doesn't move with cobwebs, black paint, bones or fake blood. Food preparation is taking an unsettling turn, with finger-shaped cookies, black chicken (bat) wings, and other gruesome goodies. I love Halloween!
Thank goodness I enjoy preparing for this event, or I might actually find myself depressed after all. While all this party prep is going on our roofers decided to start a couple of weeks early so 5 men are banging away above me. I have to check the bathroom windows to make sure my privacy is secure before entering. The new patio that was supposed to be done a week ago is still being finished. I heard a rumor it will be done today, just in time to install stairs to reach it. (My insurance agent father is not too keen on us hosting a party for 60 people that could include grievous bodily harm). A nice gentleman is here fixing my oven, which is now completely pulled out of the cabinetry.
I'm also a bit behind because we were out of town for a long weekend. We had a great visit with my family, but my appointment with an endocrinologist ( the whole reason for the trip) was a bust. He thinks I need to see another endocrinologist at UVA ( another 4-6 month wait for an appointment). Not only am I discouraged and disappointed, had I known we were wasting our time I could have been home being useful. I am not a procrastinating, last-minute kind of girl. I make lists. I am organized. I am in control... Oh, god, who am I kidding? Perhaps the only person in control in the house this week is Kate, who keeps interrupting me to demand a snack, juice, help getting into a dazzling ball gown, etcetera.
Sorry no photos today, just wanted everyone to know that we are still here just incredibly busy. I should have some fantastic pictures after Saturday night...I've heard rumors that some of the costumes are a bit unusual. Should be a real "scream".

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

When I wake up in the garden

Peaceful slumber wakes my eyes

The sun and moon are always present

There are no more crying people around

--In The Garden, Susan Tedeschi

We have hit a new plateau with the short people. For the past 4 plus years we have been awakened before 6 a.m, sometimes 5:30, and even the occasional painful 4:45. To be fair there was also the occasional 6:15 and once, like a gift from heaven, a late, late 6:30. My personal favorite early morning moment was the year that Kate was a few months shy of one and we (STUPIDLY) agreed to host a New Year's party. Everyone left at around 2:30 or so, we put away about half of the food (but not Tom's hand rolled sushi...sorry) collapsed into bed, and were woken up before 6. Hung over. That one was our own fault.

But for the last week or so...I hope I'm not breaking the magic spell by talking about this...they have been sleeping until 7:00!!! What a treat. Tracy and I are thrilled. We can actually receive local weather on foggy days (only time we get reception), and I have even been able to lounge in the bed with coffee for 15 minutes. When the girls finally do wake up India turns off the night light, gets socks for herself and Kate, opens the door, and they scramble down the hall to our room like little squirrels. They love climbing into bed with us and snuggling under the covers for a few brief minutes before we are up and running. It's wonderful.

Clearly fog has been a big factor here lately. The first photograph is of a misty Onancock Creek. Fall on the Eastern Shore often equals fog. The schools are often on two hour delay due to fog this time of year, and I sometimes feel like I've stepped onto a movie set for Wuthering Heights as the heavy mist rolls across the fields from the bayside. Those days are perfect for warm tea and a good book...too bad the short people think foggy days are perfect for play-doh, messy baking activities, and endless rounds of dress-up.

On sunny days the Turmanators have been squeezing out every last drop of outside time. These girls love to be out of the house and winter is hard for us. We don't get much snow, just very cold dampness. So we "make hay while the sun shines" and enjoy the beauty of fall whenever we can!

Friday, October 13, 2006

In my mind a thousand times
I played the part and read my lines
You and I would be the stars
And I don't even know your name
--"I Don't Even Know Your Name" The Mavericks

"I not Taferine Penn (Katherine Penn) aaaanymo'. I don' wike dat name. I TIDDY TAT TATE (Kitty Cat Kate).

Kate has changed her name. Thank goodness she's unaware that it is possible to make the change legally binding or she would do it. She's quite adamant, and whenever anyone asks her what her name is she tells them it's Tiddy Tat Tate.

She made one of these name change pronouncements at The Book Bin; our local bookstore and coffee shop. They are promoting a Halloween activity for toddlers and asked to take a photo of Kate and my friend Andrea's son, Christopher, dressed in costumes relevant to the books they are promoting. The poor photographer was mystified when she asked Kate for her name. Funny, she seemed REALLY glad to get out of there (she doesn't have children) once she had managed one decent shot. Let's just say the two were less than cooperative.

Most of the rest of us enjoyed ourselves. Kate liked having her picture taken and was allowed to keep her magic wand so she was happy. Andrea and I were given a free coffee so we were happy. But poor Christopher didn't want to wear his pirate hat, didn't want to put down his lollipop, and was bonked in the head a few times as Kate tried to "magic" him with her wand. He's such a cutie and always wants to hug Kate but she is heartless and rejecting because he steals her snacks. Hopefully she will treat him the same when they are 16.

I should have remained in the Book Bin where my children are occupied and I can socialize and drink coffee. The yard is a wreck with patio construction and our new countertops are being installed as I write this. It is all very exciting, despite the chaos, even though I have buyer's remorse approximately every other day. This old house has it's drawbacks, but it has a lot of personality and warmth and we are thrilled to add our touches.

One of my favorite things about the patio installation is the excavation because I am discovering all kinds of artifacts in the dirt. Here's a sample of yesterday's finds. They are pictured on our old countertops...bye bye ugly, old, cracked, blue laminate! Tracy is sick of me scavaging for treasures. Anyone want to dig in the dirt with me?

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Strange how hard it rains now
Rows and rows of big dark clouds
When I'm holding on underneath this shroud
--"Rain" Patty Griffin
What do you do when your yard looks like this AND the television is on the fritz? Boogie to some bluegrass, of course! The short people's love of the genre is growing...not sure if I'm as pleased as their father. I like bluegrass as well as the next girl (okay, maybe a little more than the next girl, since it's really not all that popular) but I don't want to hear it EVERY TIME I turn on the stereo or get in the car. Kate requests "a wittle music fo' my feet" to inform me she craves that high lonesome sound. They particularly favor The Mammals "Fall On My Knees" (see because there is a "whoo!" they love to sing along with. India emphatically informed me today that "every song should have a "whoo! in it".
And what do you do while you listen to bluegrass? You play the Angelina Ballerina memory game, of course! Thank you, Clare. The girls had a great time and India and I conspired to give Kate a few matches so she wouldn't be too discouraged. Notice Kate's blanket "bebe" in the background; she managed to literally sweep the board a few times as she manhandled her ratty lovey. Allen and Sarah, if you are reading, it's the one you knitted for her and it's still her fave.
I spent a few rounds of the memory game cramming various fruits and vegetables into chicken orifices and boiling chicken unmentionables to make a broth. Not one of the most pleasurable moments in cooking for me, but Tracy's parent's home-grown potatoes should make a delicious addition to our roast chicken tonight. Thanks for the bag, guys!

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

There is a town in north Ontario
With dream comfort memory despair
And in my mind I still need a place to go
All my changes were there
--"Helpless" Neil Young

We had a weekend of flashbacks. We took a trip to Patrick and Carroll Counties for Tracy's 20th high school reunion and to visit my grandmother and my grandfather. We had a great time and laughed a lot (thanks, Cliff and Rebecca, for the most hilarious party recap stomach was sore the next day from laughing so hard!).

We had the opportunity to walk around Stuart a bit and run into some familiar sights and faces. It is quite surreal to visit a place you last lived in 1989 and find so much the same. I saw an old neighbor, a friend's father, another friend's mother, and lots of other people and places I knew a long time ago.

My grandmother "Makey" will be 90 in a few weeks, and my Aunt Katie took her to Myrtle Beach one last time over the weekend. We arrived in town in time to see her off. I've watched her age so quickly in the last few years that each time I visit I worry that it will be the last time. I love to watch her with our girls and wish they could know her like I do. What an amazing woman she was and is; losing her mother at an early age, living in a barn with her father and 5 sisters after their house burned down, suffering several miscarriages, losing her husband when her children were teens, operating her own business in what was at the time a man's field, surviving cancer, and this weekend taking off for a 6 hour trip that is probably beyond her both physically and emotionally. But she did it! Clare, notice her mouth is open in the photo as always, and I even said "don't forget to close your mouth, Makey!".

Visits to my grandfather in Carroll County are bittersweet. Since my grandmother passed away in the spring he is lonely and often tearful. He is growing thinner and more bedridden, and visiting in a nursing home is never easy. But his health seems good and he is always so glad to see us, as are we to see him. During one visit they wore princess gowns and tiaras, which created quite a stir amongst the other residents as well! I suppose they don't receive much royalty in the Galax nursing facility.

Tracy's class reunion was a blast. The short people enjoyed the family portion, especially because they were able to meet our friends Cliff & Rebecca and Dena (Cliff and Rebecca gave India her "lovey" and they have grown up hearing Dena stories from my childhood). India can't stop talking about her new friend Anna; they seemed to form some sort of instant bond. And India was excited to see our friend Randy because she knows him and will always remember the time he was visiting and she "throwed up" and had to go to the hospital. The evening was, of course, the most fun. It was great to see so many familiar faces and catch up as well as tell old stories. The DJ mixed the typical 80s music, there were lots of surprises and lots of folks who hadn't changed one bit! Mike and Brooke, so glad you came by, too. The evening made me really look forward to my reunion next year. I had such a good time that my camera sat on a table, untouched, for the entire party.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Crooked little smile on her face
Tells a tale of grace
That's all her own

Spinning, laughing dancing to her
favorite song
A little girl with nothing wrong
And she's all alone
--Seven Years, Norah Jones

Tutus are de rigeur with the short people; Every day is a ballet. India is full-tilt into her class and LOVES her instructor. "I wish Miss Dana was my Mommy!", she cried after a day of head-butting with me. Oh, how that stung.

And Kate is counting the months until she can be a "bawawina" like her big sister. A friend gave Kate a pair of ballet slippers her daughter had outgrown, and each Monday we must pack them for Kate to wear while she and I wait in the green room during India's lessons.

Saturday, September 30, 2006

You give me fever, when you kiss me
Fever when you hold me tight
Fever in the morning
Fever all through the night
-- Peggy Lee
Yes, I've been sick. Again. It won't be long before I've run out of music quotes that involve illness. If you can think of any, send them just in case. I know you are all tired of hearing about it, because I'm tired of reporting it. I have an appointment with a specialist in Richmond in a few weeks and hopefully we will get down to the bottom of all this sickness soon. Enough about that.
Before I got sick I managed to get a shot of a sign that is the topic of much conversation here on the Shore. Daughty's Market is infamous for posting the names of folk who haven't paid their account. There have been some amusing ones, but this is the first time I've gotten one on film. My favorite was a man named "Marvelous Jubilee". That is a real man, and it is his REAL name. We know this because Tracy had to attend driving school with him (a whole other story).
Since Daughty's is infamous for selling mostly beer and scrapple (if you don't know, don't ask) I would have thought the good Reverend would be so embarrassed that he would rush in to pay his bill, but this little gem has been up for two weeks.
Now that I'm back among the living we might actually leave the house; I'll have some new photos to post soon. Thanks to all who have checked in.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

A Little Floyd For the Short People

Actually what India said last night was "Kate, how can you have any pudding if you don't eat your beef?", but what's the difference, really? They both looked askance at me as I quoted the correct lyrics in a loud, terrible British accent. Several times. Guess what album was stuck in my head the rest of the night?

Today was a busy one. Off to playgroup, rush home for lunch and naps, then my goddaughter Anne arrives for a play date while her mother, Susan, had a meeting with Ellie's kindergarten teacher.

I sat outside and worked crossword puzzles while the girls played.A little helper dropped onto my page when I was stuck. Can you believe how tiny he is?

John came by after work and all the Masons stayed for an impromptu dinner when Tracy arrived home (finally!) at 6:00. We kept our girls up too late for a school night, but the grown-ups were having fun and the short people and company were enjoying watching Mary Poppins. We take advantage of any quiet we can get with this foursome!

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Watermelon picture 2006

see that watermelon smiling through the fence
i wish that watermelon it was mine
sometimes i think that old folks ain't got a little sense
when they leave that watermelon on the vine
well apples are sweet and peaches are good
rabbits so very very fine
but give me oh give me
oh how i wish you would
some of that watermelon smiling on the vine
-- Dave Matthews Band
Starting India's first summer we began producing an annual photograph of the Short People posing with a sample of our watermelon crop. This tradition began when my Aunt Katie gave India a "onesie" covered in watermelons; the picture was cute and a friend suggested we make it an annual event.

We have done this without fail, even the summer after Kate was born and we forgot to plant any watermelons. I scrambled at the end of the season, searching in vain, and in desperation finally bought two "personal watermelons" (whatever they are) from the market at a price tag of about $50 a piece. Cheater.

This photo collection hangs in our kitchen, and we'll keep going until the Short People rebel and declare themselves too cool to adorn themselves with clothing festooned with pink and green fruits.

Today the girls enjoyed eating the watermelon but had a much more exciting time sharing the rinds with Daisy. Daisy, like most labs, will eat anything, but has a penchant for melon rinds and corn husks...guess she has a clean digestive tract!

Taking the photos was the last task we accomplished before saying goodbye to Tracy. He is off to the Hotel Roanoke (yes, I am pea-green with envy) for a four day convention. Have a wonderful time, TT, enjoy the solitude and argument- and ketchup-free meals, and we'll see you Wednesday night!